SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — It’s what every kid dreams of.
“I feel like I’m ready to play at the next level,” Missouri State catcher Drake Baldwin said. “So I think it’s going to be a good option for me.”
Baldwin will see his dreams of playing professional baseball come true in just a few days.
“I’ve wanted to do this since I was three years old playing tee-ball,” Baldwin said. “So it’s it’s pretty cool to be in the situation where we’re going to be able to do that.”
The MLB Draft begins on Sunday. Baldwin is likely to be selected on Monday as rounds 3-10 are completed. He’s listed as the 137th ranked prospect and a top-10 catcher.
“It’s pretty cool with the rankings coming out and seeing that I’m in like the hundreds and stuff like that,” Baldwin said. “Just realizing that I can play with the best of them. I always thought I could, but I was just to play the game is for fun and now I might go in with the best of them.”
He started to notice a handful of scouts attending Bears’ games this past fall, with more and more in the stands through the season.
“I tried to stay with the team, there for teammates, but I just started to realize that after our last game at the regional that like I could actually sit back and realize what was happening with the scouts and the draft process and stuff like that,” Baldwin said. “So it became real then.”
And Baldwin didn’t disappoint. Recording career highs in batting average, runs, hits, home runs, RBI among others.
“I think I have improved on almost everything just being in college, but the power aspects, just being able to drive the ball,” Baldwin said. “I can always hit the ball and hit singles and stuff. but this year I really focused on hitting for power, and it’s helped me a lot with with statistics helping our team win.”
As for this weekend, he’s back in Wisconsin.
“I’m going to be at home with my family and a few of my friends, so I’m just waiting for a call,” Baldwin said.
His next goal, continue the Missouri State tradition in the show.
“You can see it with Howards, Luke Voits, (Jake) Burgers, all that,” Baldwin said. “I’m like, they’re competing at the highest level and doing really well. So I’m seeing that I know I’m ready for the next level because the culture and in the atmosphere they have here and the type of person they make, they make all the players here like really sets us up for the next level.”
The Major League draft is scheduled to open on Sunday at 6pm with rounds 1-2. Rounds 3-10 will commence on Monday beginning at 1pm, with the draft concluding on Tuesday.
The draft will be held out in Los Angeles, the site of the 2022 MLB All-Star festivities.